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Priced out of the city

Earlier this month, the Royal Bank of Canada and the Pembina Institute co-published a report on Toronto’s housing market called “Priced Out”. The overarching argument is that homebuyers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) are being “priced out” of the areas in which they really want to live, which happen to be walkable and transit-oriented neighborhoods.

In fact, according to their research, 80% of residents in the GTA would be willing to sacrifice space (size of house and yard) if it meant they could live in a more walkable and urban neighborhood. But at the same time, more than 70% of GTA residents say that they live where they do because of affordability reasons, not because of actual preference. This, of course, isn’t new. It’s the whole “drive to affordability” notion—just keep driving until you can afford the housing. 

Overall though, the report does reinforce a macro tend that I’ve discussed many times here at Architect This City. People are returning to cities in droves (or would at least like to, if they can afford it).

If you’re interested, the report also has some good data on Toronto and Canada’s housing markets. 

Here’s how average home prices in Canada trended between 1980 and 2012. Vancouver became a total outlier starting in the early 90s (thanks Hong Kong).


And here’s a look at housing completions (so new construction) by product type in the Greater Toronto Area. Note how apartments/condos surpassed single-detached houses in and around 2008. 


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